By AlaskaWatchman.com

A lawsuit filed to prevent State Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) from running for reelection is proceeding, after an Anchorage Superior Court judge ruled on Sept. 12 that the Alaska Division of Elections must enforce the state constitution’s disloyalty clause when it determines whether a candidate is legally qualified to run for public office.

Randall Kowalke

With help from the hard-left legal group, Northern Justice Project, Former Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman Randall Kowalke is attempting to get a court order barring Eastman from reelection.

Kowalke, a left-of-center Republican, claims that Eastman’s membership with the national Oath Keepers group violates a state constitutional clause that prohibits residents from running for office if they belong to a group that pushes for the overthrow of the state or federal government. Kowalke wants the Division of Elections to remove Eastman from the November ballot so voters cannot have the opportunity to reelect him.

Earlier this summer, the Division of Elections reviewed a complaint by Kowalke in which he asked for Eastman to be nixed from the November ballot. The state agency, however, determined that Eastman was, in fact, a candidate in good standing, regardless of his membership with Oath Keepers.

The Division of Elections approved Eastman’s qualifications based off the fact that he fulfilled the age and residency, and citizenship requirements. It did not investigate the details of his Oath Keepers membership, saying that was not within its power to initiate such inquiries.

 Judge Jack McKenna disagreed, ruling that the Division of Election is charged with determining the suitability of candidates and that part of this entails ensuring candidates don’t violate the loyalty clause.

According to the lawsuit, Eastman violated the clause by simply being an Oath Keeper member – not for anything he did or said.

The group’s former leader was charged – but not convicted – in the events that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Two members of the 38,000-member national organization have also pleaded guilty of seditious conspiracy to try and stop the certification of the presidential election. Despite the actions of a small percentage of it members, Oath Keepers, itself, does not officially call for the overthrow of the government, and neither has Eastman.

Eastman, along with other Alaskans and thousands of fellow Americans, was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, to peacefully rally with President Trump and voice concern about election integrity issues across the nation. Eastman never entered the Capitol nor did he partake in any violence.

Nevertheless, earlier this year, leftist activists, spearheaded by the Marxist-inspired Party for Socialism & Liberation-Anchorage, attempted to pressure Alaska House leaders to expel Eastman as a state legislator due to his Oath Keepers membership. When that effort failed, House Speaker Chris Tuck used his position to hold so-called “informational” hearings that served to disparage Oath Keepers, militias in general, and their conservative members.

Ultimately, the House took no further actions as a body.

Oath Keepers is a loosely affiliated organization that is known to attract many law enforcement officers, emergency responders, government officials and military service men and women – some of whom are also militia members. Oath Keepers pledge to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and to refusal to obey unconstitutional laws. Critics say this encourages extremism that can undermine faith in government.

As things stand, Eastman remains an approved candidate for the State House where he has represented the Mat-Su since 2016, easily winning reelection in 2018 and most recently in 2020 when he took 74% of the vote in the general election. Eastman’s margins of victory are among the highest in the state.

Kowalke’s lawsuit, however, is continuing. His next move it to try and convince a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to block Eastman from appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot. A court date to address this has been set for Sept. 20. The larger case regarding Eastman’s qualifications to run for office will proceed to court in December, after the election.

Joe Miller, the former U.S. Senate candidate, is representing Eastman. He has argued that Judge McKenna’s order, if enforced, would grant vast, expansive and ultimately subjective powers to the Division of Elections to determine who is fit to run for elected office.

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Judge says lawsuit against Rep. Eastman’s candidacy can proceed

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


17 Comments

  • Steve says:

    Hold on here! Isn’t that the whole idea behind elections, to over throw the current administration if the voters so chose?

  • Meister says:

    Clearly those opposing David Eastman’s candidacy are the ones who should be under the microscope. This is another attempt by the left to subvert the will of the voters to press their evil agenda. The Mat-Su constituents need to fight this attempt to smear and vilify this honorable man.

  • David C Eastman Jr. says:

    Randal Kowalke left the Republican Party years ago after publicly proclaiming that the Tea Party were “Libertarian/Fascist”. (https://twitter.com/RandallKowalke/status/1349082020098412545) (https://twitter.com/RandallKowalke/status/1194706704811773952)

    For those following the story, this latest attack follows the strategy employed by radicals across the country to use the subatantial financial resources of left-wing law firms to attack conservative candidates during the election process through lawfare. If conservative candidates focus on campaigning, they risk losing the lawsuit and being removed from the ballot. If they focus their resources on legal defense, they risk losing the election due to not having enough donations after the lawsuit to mount a competitive campaign.

    The allegations themselves are rarely the issue. In my case, the campaign to remove me from office was based simply on my being one of nearly a million Americans who traveled to DC to hear the president speak in January. There was no accusation of committing a crime or of membership in any organizations, because I never announced to anyone that I had renewed my commitment to the Constitution over a dozen years ago by joining Oath Keepers. So many get lost in the deceit when the enemy publicly announces a false reason they are attacking someone.

    Principled conservatives who honor their oaths to the Constitution must be removed from public office. That’s the mission. That is why I am in court this week. And that is why the so-called “experts” the Democrats brought in to testify to the legislature this year attacked the very idea that individual legislators could still be permitted to use their own moral judgment to conclude that a particular action they are being asked to take violates their oath to the Constitution and that they therefore shouldn’t take it.

    The alternative they have put forward is that a legislator’s oath to the Constitution is meaningless, a mere formality, and that whoever happens to hold a majority on the Alaska Supreme Court (or the U.S. Supreme Court) will tell legislators what to do, and it will be the legislators job to do it.

    That is not separate branches of government working independently to protect the rights of the people. That is one branch of government, controlled almost completely by the Left, seeking power over the other two branches.

    Beginnig my first year in office, my family had to spend more than $40,000 defending against equally false legal attacks against me as a legislator, just so that I can continue to be a voice for those I represent in the Mat-Su. Without support, none of us can stand against such attacks today.

    The Left has raised the premium on your being able to continue to have a conservative voice representing you in government. Now not only must your representative make it through a primary and general election, they must now also prevail in a lawsuit in order to carry your voice to Juneau. Are you willing to pay that higher premium, or will the Left be able, through lawsuits like this, to price you out of being represented in your own goverment?

    I am willing to continue to stand. Please visit: http://www.davidlegal.org

  • Lauralee says:

    Thank you for a well-balanced story, Joel. Just for the benefit of your readers, this clause is under Article XII, Section 4 (General Provisions – Disqualification for Disloyalty) – “No person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution.” It is indeed eyebrow-raising to think our Elections Director may be vested with the authority to solely judge who fits this criterion. But if it is not the Div of Elections’ responsibility, whose is it to enforce this clause? This is no reflection either way on my assessment of Representative Eastman or the Oath Keepers. Rather, it’s my speculation on how highly coveted the position of Elections Director will quickly become if this ruling stands. I can see the political activists now, briskly rubbing their palms together in gleeful anticipation. Joel, do you have a link to the decision you can share?

  • Andy says:

    So sick of the injustice and double standards, one reason I’m voting in favor of the constitutional convention. Prayers for Mr Eastman.

    • Kathy says:

      I as well. We simply cannot continue like this. We pay for everything including the judge and I don’t know about you but I’m broke and property taxes continue to rise.

  • Waynette Coleman says:

    curious as to what their mission statement is, The Oath Keepers. I could not find it…everything on OK was to overthrough the government. I know that isn’t true. Thank you for covering this issue. I’m ready to stand beside Eastman against the evil. Put on the full armor of God.
    Waynette

    • Paola Estrada says:

      If you don’t know anything about OK, why do you think they are NOT interested in overthrowing the government? There is evidence that that is one if their goals.

  • Granny says:

    I found an article yesterday which explains much of what conservatives are facing in our nation-wide elections and appointments, including the state of Alaska. Please read: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/for-profit-dc-firm-staging-americas-grassroots-movements-arabella-advisors
    It appears that we are highly out-funded, out-maneuverd and outnumbered. This is a heads up to us all. How do we combat this Dark Money offensive?

  • Kasey says:

    What about the REAL personalities trying to “overthrow” our government???? What they accuse loyal, Constitutional, God-fearing individuals of is precisely what they THEMSELVES are doing. We’re seeing more and more evidence of this as they violate peoples’ constitutionally guaranteed rights and turn the FBI into the Gestapo. Parents are being harassed and threatened for speaking their minds at school board meetings. Rep Eastman has done nothing wrong. Let the VOTER decide!

  • Zip says:

    Only in this day and age can a person be prosecuted for being a member of a group that swears to defend our constitution and country. How far our country has sank..

  • Paola Estrada says:

    Do they swear to defend our constitution and country? Evidence suggests otherwise.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    David Eastman stands with and for Alaskans and is supported by Alaskans who are working to save the freedoms we enjoy, and save our state and our country for our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. Just attend the local events in Alaska and you will undoubtedly see Mr. Eastman there (unless he is away working for you!). He actually must be doing some good in our state because he is being viciously attacked! Attend local events, talk to Mr. Eastman, research what he supports and you will see that he is for Alaska and Alaskans all the way.

  • MPJ says:

    This is an attack on not just Rep. Eastman. It is an attack on every citizen of this country that stands for truth and the Constitution. When you have government officials using the weight of the government to attack your political opponents because you disagree with their beliefs and political opinions, you have a direct violation of the tenants of our Constitution, which is tyranny. Everyone with any intellegence knows that FBI provocators were at the heart of the January 6th events and are known to have infiltrated the Oath Keepers. Americans were setup and framed for exhibiting their rights under the Constitution to aire their greviences with an election that was ripe with fraud. If anyone should be deemed to be unfit for office, it would be Randall Kowalke for attacking an innocent man who has done nothing but serve his nation and the people of his district. The abuse of our laws and judicial system to attack Americans on the whims of leftist law firms must end! I think Randall Kowalke should be sued for defamation and trying to ruin a good mans reputation with false claims.

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